✍️✍️✍️✍️ Lucia All Chapters Full Free Reading ✍️✍️✍️✍️




By: Covering the Sky

Translated by: Eseul

Edited by: Lili

It was a hot summer day when she turned 12 years old. Lucia’s world turned upside down. Everything spiraled down when her mother passed away and she had to enter the royal palace.

‘Was I dreaming? Or am I still dreaming…?’

Lucia sat on her bed mumbling while trapped in a trance. She just had a very long dream. It felt like she had returned to the past, or maybe it was a precognitive dream. Inside the dream, she experienced her future life. It wasn’t a peaceful life. Most of the days were stained with suffering and tears. But there were times she had felt happy and joyful. She had lived on hanging onto a tiny sliver of hope.


She had had no idea. Her mother was of noble blood. While she had still been alive, she had never let out a single peep about it at all. When Lucia was 25 years old inside the dream, she had bumped into her mother’s brother and came to know the truth.

Her mother, Amanda, was the youngest daughter of the Baden Earldom. The Baden nobles had once been influential margraves (count of a border territory). However, currently they were only nobles in name, overlooking not even a single plot of land. The will of the Baden nobles ran deep, but their name had more or less been forgotten by the majority of the population, and it was unknown how long they could keep hold of their nobility.

Amanda had run away at night after taking a single pendant, that had been passed down from generation to generation inside the empty rooms of the old-fashioned house at the border lands.

Lucia’s uncle had bitterly stated that they should have gone out to capture Amanda at the time she had made her escape. He never imagined that it would be the last time he would ever see her. She had been a foolish youth when she had run away, and it had been foolish to think she would return. A month later, they had attempted to track her down, but it had already been too late.

Her uncle had had no way of finding her mother. She had run to the capital and that had made it close to impossible. Even Lucia didn’t fully remember how they had lived through the hard times in the capital.

However, although Amanda had been unmarried, she had given birth to a genuine king’s daughter. One could only assume the truth of the situation. When Lucia was born, the truth should have been revealed to the royal family, but Amanda had chosen to do what nobody else would have done. She had hidden her noble bloodline and had lived as a commoner together with Lucia.

Lucia’s mother was an aristocrat, the daughter of the noble Baden family. More than that, Lucia was related to the king by blood. Lucia had never known the truth and had spent her childhood thinking of Amanda as a commoner.

Her mother had been beautiful, the townspeople had all been nice, and she had always played together with the other kids by the river and the forest. It seemed like only yesterday, but it was a distant memory now, and she could do nothing else but cry. Her happiest moments belonged to those early days.

All the suffering had come out of the blue. Amanda had fallen ill due to an epidemic that had swept throughout the city. In Lucia’s memories, her mother had been a petite and skinny woman, different , different from the strong commoner women of the city.

She had grown up in a noble family and had never experienced any harsh days. Raising Lucia as a single mom had been taking a toll on her body, until she had turned into a sickly mess.

Her mother had seemed to know that she would die soon. A few days before her mother’s death, Lucia had passed a message in her stead. It had probably been a letter meant to be delivered to the royal palace.

Lucia understood her mother’s decision. She had done the best she could up until her last breath. The life of an orphaned girl could only spiral down into the depths of hell. If Lucia had never entered the palace, she would have had to become a prostitute and sell her body for the rest of her life.

A few days after Amanda had passed away, a guard had brought Lucia to the royal palace. The royal family owned a magical device that could confirm anyone’s ancestry. It was the royal family’s treasure, but occasionally other nobles would come and use the device as well.

Even if illegitimate children flooded over, conflicts over blood relations would not occur due to this magical treasure.

The King had confirmed his daughter’s face through the device and had bestowed a name upon her. That had been the first and last time she ever met her ‘father’.

“Vivian Hesse.”

That was Lucia’s new name. Nobody had bothered to ask about her original name. Everything had been decided one-sidedly. She had lost her mother, had been forcefully dragged to the royal palace, and had been generously provided with a run-down palace detached from everyone.

After crying all night, she woke up early in the morning and realized that everything changed – her own self and her surroundings. She sat down hugging her knees and thought about her future.

Just because she had become a princess overnight, nothing in her life had actually changed for the better. The unrestrained king had spread his seeds all over the place. The news of a new prince, or even a princess, were not enough to become the hot topic of the palace rumors.

Lucia was the 16th princess. She had figured that out after a long time of residing in the palace. She had calculated the total amount of children who had gained the approval of the King, and had figured out she was the 16th princess. She had an obscure background and was born after a one night stand with the king. Additionally, she was a royal princess who had grown up among commoners.

‘Even if I know my future……….’

Lucia sighed heavily. She only came to know how her future would unfold. Her future started in the border lands and ended here until its bitter conclusion. As it was, she had gained nothing useful from the dream. She had no means to mingle with the upper aristocracy, so even if she knew her future, it was futile.

After Lucia had entered the royal palace, her life had not been special at all. She had lived a quiet life without worries of starving to death. No one had cared to show any interest in her, but due to that, no one had come to bully her, either. Each day had been the same as all the others. When Lucia had reached 19 years old, her life had changed once again.

The year Lucia had turned 19, Lucia’s birth father, the nation’s King Hesse the 8th, had passed away. She had only met him once, so when she had heard the news, she had felt nothing for his death. She had believed his death would not affect her life in any way. However, the succeeding king, Hesse the 9th, had drawn up a new budget for the royal palace. He had decided to clean up the consequences of the past king’s uninhibited life. Hesse the 9th had started a project to send all of his half brothers and sisters out of the palace.

When Lucia had turned 20, only 6 princesses of the past king had remained in the palace. Lucia had no relatives. She had spent her life hiding inside the detached palace with no relations to the outside world at all. There was nobody who would volunteer to take her under their care. There wasn’t even a profit to be gained by marrying her off to others.

Hesse the 9th had auctioned off Lucia, who was nothing but a dead weight to the royal palace. Lucia had been 20 years old when she was auctioned off to the person who had offered the highest dowry.

Count Matin, Lucia’s new husband, was 20 years older than her and had two divorces in his past. He had three sons with the eldest one the same age as Lucia. The five years together with the count had been the most horrible period for her. Economically, Lucia had been doing much better than her time in the detached palace, but she had gotten destroyed mentally. The count was an old, fat, disabled pervert. He had fulfilled all his sexual desires through Lucia.

‘I don’t want to!!’

Lucia’s body trembled. She never wanted to experience that again. Rather, she didn’t want to experience the future. Even if she had to die, she didn’t want to marry that bastard again.

‘I must change my future. I will change my future no matter what!!’

The future she saw in her dream was already changing. Originally, Lucia had shown symptoms of autism the first few months in the royal palace. Her mother’s death, the identity of her father, and being chased away to a place without an ounce of affection; all these things had been too much for a young girl to handle.

There had been no one to care for Lucia, who had blocked herself from the outside world. In the beginning, physicians had dropped by a few times and palace maids had visited to make sure she didn’t starve to death.

The extremely disinterested surroundings had worked as a catalyst for Lucia. She had been able to gradually regain her clarity little by little on her own. But this time, things were different. Lucia didn’t experience any symptoms of autism. She had no grand dream of changing her life around. She only had one wish – she simply wanted the freedom to live the way she liked.

‘I can do this. I can change it.’

She didn’t know how to do it. As a 12 year old princess with no connections, there was nothing she could do. But she didn’t despair.

‘I still have a lot of time.’

However, time continued to pass coldly. Before she knew it, Lucia had turned 18.

Lucia Chapter 1

translated: eseul

edited: lili

Lucia hated opening her eyes every morning

‘Ah…this damn migraine. Why must I go through the same pain twice in a lifetime?’

Lucia held her aching head and got up. Her life followed the exact path of her dream. Once she started menstruating at age 15, she began suffering from massive migraines at least once a month and at most about three to four times a month. Though it wasn’t serious, it would turn out to be a chronic illness tormenting her for the rest of her life.

By the time Lucia turned 18 years old, she truly believed she had seen her own future in her dream. She had put in a lot of effort. Many things about her future had changed already.

But sometimes, the future was inevitable and nothing could be done to change it. For example, in the summer when she was 13 years old, there had been a heavy downpour of rain, which had flooded the whole first floor of the royal palace. The following winter, a cold spell due to the flood had caused a shortage of firewood. She had spent the entire winter shivering with cold.

When she turned 15, she began menstruating and suffering migraines. Such was the power the future held. Even knowing what would happen next, it wasn’t possible to change it.

When she turned 19, the King would die. Lucia would be sold to the piggish Count Matin. That was part of the future Lucia couldn’t change. As she realized this, she fell in despair. What was the point of knowing the future? It felt like the heavens were pulling her leg, turning everything into a big joke.

She confined herself in her room in hopelessness, but she let it all go only a few days later . ‘Even if I starve myself to death here, nobody will know.’ It was like a breath of fresh air, she no longer felt the heavy burden of sorrow weighing on her heart.

Lucia opened her windows. The cold morning air flooded into the room. She leaned against the window sill and let the icy wind blast against her entire body. It was as if she was facing against her own cold destiny.

She was now tall enough to place her hands against the window sill and lean out to look at the outside world. She took after her mother, so she had a small body frame. Her hair was reddish brown much like the rest of the population, but she had pumpkin orange eyes that glittered like gold and stood out from the rest. Other than that, she looked like any other person one could find on the street.

Even so, it wasn’t like she didn’t have any appeal. She had a pale but glowing complexion, so dressing up a bit let her display her charm. Usually, her allure remained dormant. She never needed a corset due to her thin waist. Her frail frame could incite most men’s protective instinct. However, she didn’t belong to the upper aristocracy, thus none of her charms could be appreciated.

“Let’s see. I’m out of firewood and I’m running low on potatoes and eggs.”

She was currently standing besides her creaky old wooden table, taking inventory of her life necessities. She had carelessly tied her long hair into a ponytail, and her plain poplin dress looked almost identical to the royal palace’s maid uniform. In her current state, nobody would think she was a princess.

“I should go request for the necessary goods today.”

It was improper for Princess Lucia to do this herself, but it had become natural after a few years. There wasn’t a single official maid residing in her palace at the moment. Thankfully, the place wasn’t that big, so it wasn’t too much trouble. The top floor of the palace had been blocked off for safety reasons ever since she had first arrived here. Currently, part of the first floor was also closed off. The only living spaces she could use were her bedroom and a few other rooms.

At first, she had five maids waiting on her. But they were crude and could not be considered palace maids at all.

The royal maids had their own pride. The servants who attended to the esteemed nobles were all called ‘maids’, but there were different ranks among them.

A royal palace maid looked over the chores and miscellaneous tasks completed by the labor maids. Officially, Lucia, who was part of the royal family, had to have a housekeeper, royal palace maids, labor maids, and three attendants.

The problem was that there were too many royal descendants. The main problem being Lucia was ranked the lowest of the low among her brothers and sisters. No matter how hard the maids worked, there was no hope for any promotions and there was nobody who would go out of their way to volunteer for the position. There was no way for the servants to receive additional pocket money, so all the maids avoided her. As the years passed, the maids retired one by one and soon Lucia didn’t have a single one remaining by her side.

Originally, once a maid retired, a new maid should have been hired. However, her palace had no hopes of good earnings, so any royal palace maid or labor maid would steer clear of this place. Royal palace maids received enough salary for their daily life. However, it was difficult for labor maids to survive on just their wages.

The maids hired to serve Lucia would quit after a few days or bribe high officials to be reassigned to a different place. Soon, maids stopped coming into the palace once and for all. The servants’ names were recorded into the registry and received their wages, but they never showed up to do their jobs.

If Lucia formally registered a complaint, things would have been resolved. Although she had no power, she was still considered a princess. Inside the dream, she had personally gone to the maids and fixed the problem. This time as well, she had decided to go find the maids and straighten out the problem. However on the way there, she had bumped into a royal palace maid who had mistaken her for a labor maid and had assigned a simple chore to her.

A bright idea had popped into Lucia’s mind and she had fulfilled the task without complaint. She had decided not to file the complaint, and had returned home to organize her thoughts instead. If she pretended to be a maid long enough, she would gain the chance to go out of the royal palace.

Lucia’s last maid had left her at the age of 15, and what followed was her dual life as a princess and a maid. As a maid, she had to go request for daily necessities and do manual labor, but she had earned the freedom to leave the royal palace.

Lucia had been living alone in the palace for three years. It was probably still documented that Lucia was living together with five other maids.

No palace officials would bother to come and personally check whether the documentations were true or not. The complaints of the countless children of the king were enough to make the officials’ heads burst with pain. The officials had no time for Lucia who never expressed a word of complaint.

Lucia was returning home after she had requested for daily necessities this morning, while also receiving tips for a job well done. Whether it was the royal palace or the dirty back streets of the city, humans were all essentially the same. Money enticed people to to continue struggling forward.

There was a different door maids used to leave the palace. They were all standing in a long line waiting for their turn. The line gradually shortened until it was finally Lucia’s turn. She showed the guard her permission to leave pass. It was a pass issued by Princess Vivian. However, even if Lucia showed her face to the guard, he would not recognize her. He quickly confirmed the authenticity of the pass and nodded.

“Are you taking anything out of the palace?”

The guard had already confirmed Lucia was empty handed, but he still asked anyway.


The guard nodded once again and let her out of the palace.

Lucia inhaled a deep breath of fresh air. She turned her head around and looked up at the giant palace walls that surrounded the place.

It was safe inside the palace walls. 

Outside the walls, it was hard for a young girl to safely walk around on her own.

The status of a low ranked princess worked in her favor to allow for a lot of freedom. The Lucia of her dreams had never realized that fact, but she had come to realize it now.

Still, the future made her unable to breathe. She wanted to escape that place as soon as possible.

‘It’s strange that there are so many people today.’

People were crowding the street in masses. Whenever she managed to squeeze through, the crowd of people would sweep her into another direction, making her run in circles.

After toiling through the crowd, she arrived to a small two story house, where a middle-aged woman opened the door. She had her eyebrows and eyes creased like she was mad, but that was actually her natural face.


“Hello, Ms. Phil. Is Madam Norman home?”

“She’s always home. She’s still sleeping sprawled on the floor after a long night of drinking. Hold on a second, let me go get some tea for you.”

“Thank you, Ms. Phil.”

The comforting fragrance of the tea filled the living room as Lucia sat patiently with a gentle expression, enjoying her tea. The sound of Ms. Phil clattering around drifted over from the kitchen, but this addition seemed like music to her ears. Lucia’s dream was to purchase a small house like this and enjoy her life. She would hire two people and let them do the minor chores, and she would enjoy life while peacefully drinking tea. She would do things like taking small walks or passing time while reading books. Though she didn’t know when that dream would come true.

A gentle smile could be seen on Lucia’s face. A skinny woman was clumsily stumbling down the stairs from the second floor, barely able to hold her own body up while her eyes looked glossed over in a haze. She let out a creaky voice.

“Ms. Phil, water~!”

Norman sat on the sofa across from Lucia and leaned down on the armrest. She had a thin body and a face which gave off an unfriendly atmosphere. She looked well over her 30s, but was actually very young. Norman chugged down the glass of water Ms. Phil had brought, and sighed as if she wanted to die.

“Aaah, my inside hurts.”

“You should ease up on your drinking, tsk tsk.”

Ms. Phil muttered in her unique blunt tone and returned to the kitchen. Her speech and attitude was always brusque, but Lucia knew Ms. Phil’s kindness – she was going to the kitchen to prepare some food that would quell Norman’s hangover.

“Why did you drink so much?”

“I thought I would be able to write one more line if I drank, but I couldn’t control myself. I’m sorry. In this state, I can’t properly take care of my guest. Thank you for coming all this way.”

“What do you mean by guest? It’s no trouble coming to visit you at all. Even if I didn’t have to come here, I would have gone out for a walk anyway.”

“There is something in the table drawer there. Open it, my latest book is there.”

Madam Norman was a writer; she was a famous romance author. Norman’s books were all about love, but people considered these books classy and intelligent. They were fun but educational; her books that killed two birds with one stone, had caused a sensation. Due to the many books she had released these past years, she could live comfortably without needing to earn a cent more.

When Lucia took out the book, she gasped.

“It’s finally done! I’ve been waiting for a long time.”

Lucia hurried to the last page of the book.

“You’re already ending it? Why? This series is very popular.”

“It would get boring if I add too much filler, this length is just right. My editor was on my tail, ordering me to lengthen the series by two or three more books. Hehehe.”

“It’s such a pity. I feel like it would have been alright if you followed your editor’s advice.”

“Look inside the book as well.”

Lucia flipped through the pages and found an envelope hidden within the book. Inside, there was a receipt confirming that money had been deposited. Lucia’s eyes popped out when she saw the amount of money.

“Norman, this is too much….”

“Take it. You deserve it.”

“But I’ve already received a lot of money…”

“This is a bonus since I’ve completed my novel. If you still don’t feel right, you can consider it a fee for helping me contribute ideas for my novel. The ideas for this novel mostly came from you.”

In the past, Norman was not a popular writer. She was a poor author who had trouble buying her daily meals. Her usual topic was a romance between a female commoner and a noble man. It was impossible for it to happen in reality, but people could always daydream about it.

However, what the readers wanted was not a female commoner, but an elegant noble woman. Commoners wished to experience a noble’s life through these books, while nobles didn’t bother picking up books about commoners. Even so, Norman had no way to write about a noble woman, because she didn’t have the tiniest idea about how they lived.

Norman, a commoner with no money, would have no way to take part in a social event hosted by nobles. She would either need to extensively read other people’s books, or interview maids who have served nobles before. However, she hadn’t had any money, so she couldn’t do anything.

Her books wouldn’t sell, so she couldn’t even pay her rent. Although her only talent was writing, she couldn’t see a way to break through into the novel industry. While Norman had been sitting in the empty streets of the central plaza, Lucia had appeared out of nowhere and had given her a loaf of bread. Norman believed that meeting Lucia had changed her life around.

Norman had never known, but Lucia had been keeping an eye on her for a long time. Norman hadn’t seemed like a homeless beggar, but she had looked so hungry. She had been sitting by the roadside, but never begged for food. Lucia couldn’t help but go up and talk to her.

That was how the two of them had met.

“The reason I’m here today is all because of you, Lucia.”

Lucia had taught Norman everything she knew about high society. Lucia had attended many social parties inside her dream. Her words could not compare to the simple maids who simply served the nobles by their side. Norman could set up a strong foundation to her novels through Lucia’s extensive tales of the noble women in the high society.

“It’s because Norman’s novels are amazing.”

“If it wasn’t for you, I wouldn’t have been able to write a single sentence, so it’s all thanks to you. I can continue earning more money now.”

Lucia visited Norman once a week. They talked for a few hours and through this, Lucia had earned quite a bit of money.

Norman had paid her a hefty sum. Of course in the beginning, Lucia had to go visit her with a basket full of bread, but as soon as her books started selling, Norman had not been shy in expressing her thanks through money.

The roles had changed now. Numerous people, including widows, were coming to visit her. She had stabilized her footing. Norman could now collect as much information as she needed even without Lucia. But Norman could not become an ungrateful human being toward the person who had helped her when she most needed it.

Norman wanted to continue sponsoring Lucia and help her get married as well. They were not only connected through money. Norman regarded Lucia as her little sister.

“Thank you, Norman. My greatest luck was meeting you.”

“That’s what I want to tell you.”

Lucia’s eyes shook as she confirmed the amount of money she received. With the amount she had saved so far, she would be able to safely run away and smoothly begin a new life.

‘No. The risk and danger is too big.’

No matter how little interest she garnered from others, she was still a princess. If she were to disappear, the palace guards would be deployed to track her down. Not out of worry for Lucia, but because their prestige would be tarnished. If so, they would find out about her past with Norman. It was very likely that Norman would suffer some injustice or punishment.

There was no guarantee she would be able to escape at all. In order to successfully escape, she had to leave the capital and travel somewhere far. She was just a lone girl; nine cases out of ten she would suffer an accident of some sort. She had considered guards or escorts, but she couldn’t trust anyone. Rather, it was likely that the guards would end up stabbing her in the back and stealing all her money.

If she wanted to plan an escape, it would be safer after getting married to Count Matin. She wouldn’t be considered part of the royal palace anymore, so even if she went missing, nobody would care. She could close her eyes and suffer for just one year while looking for someone trustworthy and planning thoroughly, so that nobody would find her when she ran away.

‘But… I don’t want to, that guy…’

A chill ran down her spine just from imagining that person’s face. Was there really no way? A way to escape from him.

“Lucia, do you have a boyfriend?”


“What are you so shocked for? I’m wondering if you have a boyfriend? If you don’t know anybody, then I can look for someone very nice and introduce him to you.”

“How old do you think I am? Aah, it’s okay.”

“You’re only 18 years old. It’s not like I’m telling you to get married. You should get to know a handful of men, so when you’re around 22, you can choose someone among them to marry. Palace maids are very popular, you know. People think they are very modest. They view them differently from women who do manual labor or farming for a living. You guys have pale skin as well. Just go with the flow and tell me. What type of men do you like? Do you like older men who are dependable? Young and cute guys? I’ll find them for you.”

“How about you? Norman why are you still single?”

Norman’s previously sparkling eyes turned bored once the topic shifted back to her.

“Well for me, I’m already too old.”

“What’s age got to do with anything? You just have no interest in it. You’re deceiving your readers. How can you not believe in love when you write romance novels?”

“Tsk, what do you mean deceive? I’m giving life to an everlasting love that does not exist in the real world. When my readers fall into my novel, they live in a dream.”

“Then why are you telling me to get married?”

“Although there is no such thing as everlasting love, I think that when two people’s hearts connect, they can become good friends for each other. Since you’re always alone, I wish you would find a friend who can be with you until the end.”

“Why am I alone? I have you, Norman. Norman, you are my friend and family.”

Norman looked at Lucia with affected eyes and opened her arms wide. Hurry and come into your older sister’s embrace. Lucia burst into laughter while Norman’s eyes shined at her.

“You smell like alcohol, so I don’t want to.”

“Eh? How can you respond that way in this heart-warming moment?”

“I’ll be going now. Norman, you should go and rest some more. You look like you will die any moment now.”

Norman had dark circles hanging below her eyes, making her look like a corpse.

“Aah, I really should return to sleep. I feel like someone is twisting my organs inside of me. If you’re not in a rush, feel free to rest a while longer and take your time going home. Anyway, there is a rush of people outside and it will be hard to get around.”

“Now that you bring it up, is it a special day today? I saw a lot of people on the way here.”

“You didn’t know? I’m always buried inside my house, but you know even less than me. All the knights are returning to parade around the city.”


That was today. It was a rare chance to see the minister of state, so everyone had left their work for another day and had come out to greet the minister.

‘In my dream, I always kept myself shut inside the detached palace, so I never knew these things.’

This was one of the biggest lifestyle changes for Lucia, compared to the past. While Lucia was pretending to be a palace maid, she was able to go out into the world and explore. Thanks to that, Norman had also made a lot of money.

‘The war is over now….’

Compared to the detached palace, that was still, isolated, and without change, the outside world was very noisy. When Lucia was eight, she had experienced her first war. It had been a local war between two small countries. But as time continued to flow, the war had gradually spread, and soon the whole world had been split in two.

In the future, this war would be called the first stage of the continental war. By the time Lucia was about 11, her country – Xenon, had decided to join the war, and had become the main force of the Northeast Alliance. The next five years were the height of the war. The Northeast Alliance had gradually gotten the upper hand, and for the next two years, there had been a lull in battles. Around when she reached 18 years old, the war had ended in a ceasefire after much negotiation. In this war, Xenon was among the winning countries.

Norman, who was feeling sick, didn’t want to be near such a big crowd, while Lucia decided to take a peek on her way back to the palace. It would be a pity to miss such an event.


As the charismatic knights paraded through the city, people screamed and whistled so loud, one would go deaf in the crowd. Xenon was a combat state, but the war had not taken place inside the country, therefore most of its citizens had not suffered from the war in the least.

However, the war would still weigh heavily on the citizens’ hearts. The happiness of winning the war, and the resulting freedom, had the citizens in high spirits. The uplifting atmosphere was contagious and made Lucia feel very cheerful as well.

The knights’ armors differed between families, with their designated crests inscribed on their chest and back. Certain knight troops styled grand red capes along with their armors, while other knight troops had simple and crude armor. One could judge their nobility and power from their family titles alone.

“Waaah!! Taran!!”

Screams that could not be compared to any others could be heard. Men yelled while stomping their feet, while women yelled on top of their lungs: Taran! Taran! A single knight platoon split the crowd as they made their way through the city. All the knights of this platoon had a black lion inscribed onto their armors. Commoners usually could not differentiate between the different noble family crests, but there was not a single person in Xenon who did not know of the Black Lion crest.


Lucia could see only one thing as the deafening sounds and lively atmosphere dissipated into the background. The knight leading the platoon, riding on top of a white horse and wearing pure black armor as he marched along the city. Although this knight had covered his face with a helmet, she could perfectly draw his face in her mind. She knew this man. Hugo Taran. He was not of royal blood, but still received the respect of the king. And although it was just a formality, he had the right to inherit the throne. The Duke of Taran. It was the young Duke of Taran.

The War’s Black Lion

He was armed with both discipline and strategy. The Northeast Alliance’s victory in this war was due to his fortification and domination. Xenon had engaged in the war last, but was the one to lead the negotiations that had lead to the end of the war. They had lost the least, but had gained the most. To be precise, Duke of Taran’s platoon always won, and it was the greatest foundation for the Northeast allies’ victory.

Truthfully, Lucia was not supposed to know about Duke Taran, or the Duke’s name, or of what he had done for the war. She knew of these things because of her dream.

Count Matin, whom Lucia married, was a very crafty man. No matter where Count Matin stepped into, he would always ensure an escape route for himself. Thus after the war, he was able to stick himself to the crown prince’s faction and live in luxury.

As a result, Lucia had attended many noble social parties together with her husband, or alone as his wife. She had to attend these parties like it was her job, so there were many instances when she had met the Duke of Taran. There was always a crowd of people around that man. It was as though a cackle of hyenas were fighting over a hunk of meat.

Count Matin had tried all sorts of methods to earn the Duke of Taran’s support, but he always failed. Up until that point, she hadn’t known the man very well at all. She had assumed he was just a great knight of some sort. She had only come to know him better quite a long time later.

About two years after Lucia had gotten married, the Duke of Taran got married. His marriage had caused all of high aristocracy to go into an uproar. He had married a young miss from an unknown noble family without any sort of influence. She was just a cute young female. She wasn’t pretty at all, and nobody could understand why the Duke had chosen that female as his wife. The Duke had never responded to anyone, so many rumors had flown around town.

The hottest rumor had been that the Duke of Taran was head over heels in love with the girl, but everyone was suspicious and nobody wanted to believe that was the case.

Lucia had come to know the truth a long while later. The information had come from the back doors of high aristocracy but it had a lot of credibility to it.

Like the rumors had assumed, the Duke was not in love with that young miss, nor was her noble family of rich background. The two noble families had made an agreement of some sort.

Her usefulness lay exactly in the fact that she was a noble without any influence or wealth. He’d needed a wife in name, who could not influence his dukedom. Thus, he had married that woman. The duke had remained unresponsive to the rumors, and soon the rumors became fact.

‘Of course that would be the case.’

‘Why else would the Duke of Taran marry such a woman.’

The noble women were talking with such passion, that they were close to coughing up blood. It was the only way to vent their anger for losing out on such a good deal.

‘What’s wrong with her? Aren’t you guys all the same?’

A man would look for a woman with a healthy womb to continue the family line, while the woman would look for a man with great wealth in exchange. It was a form of strategy bound by contract.

Although the process of the Duke’s marriage was different, it was more or less the same as any other noble in the land. In any case, she was still an official wife of a duke. So what if she was only a wife in name; she was still his wife. The duke had not taken any concubines, and although it was unknown whether he had any secret lovers, no rumors about such a thing had gone around. At least the Duke of Taran was not such a bastard as Count Matin.


The Taran Knight Platoon had already passed while Lucia was stuck in a daze, and a different knight platoon were marching past. As Lucia watched the Taran Knight Platoon grow more and more distant, she had been gripping onto something very tightly. She looked to see what she was holding; it was Norman’s novel.

‘A contracted marriage…’

The theme of Norman’s most recent hit novel was contracted marriage. It was an idea Lucia had proposed without much thought. She must have unconsciously thought of The Duke of Taran’s marriage from her memories.

‘Contracted marriage…’

A light began swimming in Lucia’s eyes.

‘A wife in name.’

Her body shook with a sudden realization. It felt like all the blood in her body had drained, leaving only a sinking coldness behind.

‘The Duke’s wife…’

Lucia bit her lips. This plan might be the key to successfully escaping her fate.

‘Should I try?’

First, she needed to meet the Duke of Taran. But how? Just because she wanted to meet him, she wasn’t a person who could do so. Even the King himself could not order him as he pleased.

‘That’s right…a party! There is a victory celebration tonight.’

From the 3rd to 5th there would be a ball every night. The Duke should attend more than one of these balls the first night being the most probable. Getting an invitation was easier on the first night, because the party location was grand, all in order to host the celebration of the victory of war. It was a good thing she was a princess.

Her identity was more than enough to attend a ball, so there shouldn’t be any problems.

There were too many things to prepare for tonight’s party. First, she needed a dress. The time to use the money she had saved had finally arrived. She thought of all the things she needed to do and quickly moved her body forward.

“There’s…none left?”

The female employee nodded her head apologetically. Lucia fell to the floor right there. She had run to this place without stopping; it was her last hope, but it was all for naught.

There were not many dress shops that made dresses with a good enough quality to suit such a ball, yet still within her budget. Normally, the shops would stocked to the brim with dresses, but now was a special case.

It would be an extravagant ball hosted for the first time in a while. Every noble women in the capital would attend, and carriages would be lining up to get in. There were many nobles like Lucia, who didn’t have much money, so buying these affordable dresses was like going to war.

It was too foolish to think that she could buy it last minute. She should have pre-ordered one a month earlier. She would have been able to obtain some malformed or barely passable dress a week before at the latest.

‘What can I do about it, when I only thought of going to the party today?!’

“There is… That one piece…”

The female employee must have felt pity for Lucia, who looked to be in great despair.

“There is one left?”

“Erm, it’s been a few years, so the style is a bit… Well, with a bit of repair work, it will do….”

“That’s alright! I will buy it. No matter what, it’s mine!”

“No, but the dress is a bit too small.”

“It’s too small?”

“If you will be the one wearing it, it will fit. But, you’re not going to be the one wearing it, right?”

“I will!”

Lucia hurriedly replied, but then reworded her response.

“I mean, the person who will be wearing it is exactly like me. She has my exact body frame, so there is no problem.”

“Is that so? Then please come in and try on the dress. Let me see if we need any extra mending.”

The female employee dug very deeply into the storage and came out with a dress. Lucia’s expression brightened up. It was a modest and simple pastel blue dress. Although it was a style from years ago, it didn’t give off a cheap feeling.

She changed into the dress and looked in the mirror. The dress didn’t have a corset or a panier (something that goes under a dress to puff it up), so it looked like a great mess. She had her hair tied in a messy bun and her make up was a mess, so nothing matched at all. The female employee twirled around her while fiddling here and there.

“Young miss, how can you have such a skinny waist? Probably none of our corsets will fit you. It seems we have to re-adjust the hips. The length is a bit short, so…you’ll probably need to cover up with something. The lace here is ripped so we need to cut it off and stick a new piece… We have to refit the dress a bit.”

“Can I do that here?”

“Um… It seems like a lot of work, so I’m sorry. We already have a lot of other dresses waiting to be refitted.”

“If I wear this without refitting it…”

The female employee shook her head with all her strength.

“That must never happen. You’ll only make a fool out of yourself.”

They said once you climb over a mountain there would be another mountain waiting for you. Once the female employee saw Lucia’s struggling face, she offered another helping hand.

“My mother has already retired, but… She has been refitting dresses for a very long time. If you’re okay with that…”

“Of course that’s okay!”
Chapter 2

18 years old (2)

translated: eseul

edited: lili

When he took off his helmet, his black hair flowed down past his shoulders. The servants helped him remove the heavy armors from his chest, arms, and legs. He had never protected his body with so much during war. He had been marching through the streets dressed like a clown, while suffering through the endless people screaming their heads off. He had barely been able to endure marching in the perfect military formation, like the Emperor’s dog.

“Why don’t you hang some paintings here and there? It’s so barren here.”

However, that was not what was bothering him at the moment. An uninvited guest had followed him to his private quarters, being critical of everything. Although he was in the middle of changing, the other man shamelessly wandered around, engrossed in the surroundings.

“This is my bedroom.”

“Strictly speaking, this isn’t your bedroom. It’s the living room that happens to serve as a bedroom. This place is perfectly suited for a guest.”

“The guest living room is on the first floor.”

“If not today, when else would I be able to visit your home. Don’t be so stingy. I have some very nice art pieces. I shall send some over to you.”

He endured the rising anger in his heart; one would never know what he was really feeling from his outward appearance. He had an icy expression, while his red eyes looked calm and at peace.

He stoically let his servants attend to him, as they dressed him in a tailcoat suit. He was preparing for tonight’s victory ball.

He was originally going to rest, and only show up near the end of the ball. If it wasn’t for this irritating uninvited guest.

“I will only be able to go to today’s ball,” he said as he buttoned the cuff of his sleeve.

“Fine. But the party isn’t three days, but five…”

“Are you going back on your words?”

“I got it. Look, Duke. Why do you hate attending social parties? We have delicious wine, food, along with beautiful women. Why don’t you enjoy your time here?”

“I already have more than enough wine at home. I don’t have much of a hobby seeking for delicious food, either. Even without attending these parties, I already have more than enough women.”

“Look here. That’s not the only reason for these functions. Duke, you must help me out here. You gave me your word.”

“I promised I would help you when you become the next Emperor.”

“Is that so? Who do you think will be able to become the next Emperor if not me?”

Crown Prince Kwiz stood up tall and confident.

“Let us talk after you become the next Emperor.”

One never knew how the world would turn. Kwiz didn’t seem bothered by his words, but simply sighed.

“You’re more difficult to win over than a coy young lady.”

“A clingy man is never popular.”

“Mmn? Uh? Duke, was that a joke? That’s a joke, isn’t it?”

Kwiz laughed in amusement, but the other man was less than enthusiastic.

“Let us leave.”

He wanted to kick this uninvited guest from his private quarters as soon as possible.

* * *

The dress shop’s employee couldn’t help but save the day for this pitiful young miss. Lucia had to pay more than double for the dress and refitting. According to the employee, it was ‘today’s’ favorable price. She rationalized it by saying that the dress came along with a corset and panier. However, she wasn’t able to hire anyone to help with her makeup and hair.

Fortunately, Lucia knew some basic makeup and hairstyle techniques. However, if any professional beautician had seen her, they would click their tongue complaining at the miserable techniques and overall feel of her appearance.

By the time Lucia reached the banquet hall, she was tired to her bones. Her legs hurt from running all over town. Also, she had redone her makeup and hairstyle many times due to her poor skills, causing her a lot of stress.

‘All of today’s investments must not go wasted…’

Although she had attended many social functions in her dream, she was still very nervous and worried.

‘Ah… So many people. I’ll be run over by people if I’m not careful.’

The most eye-catching point of the ball were the chattering people all over the ballroom. Though nobles loved parties and balls, they had been abstaining due to the war, so they looked very cheerful and lively now. It wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that all the nobles in the capital were attending today’s ball.

High-class social parties had limited invitations. Nobles didn’t socialize much with people outside of their social circle. It was nearly impossible for a low ranked noble to be able to attend the same banquet as the high ranked ones, unlike today. Therefore, any nobles looking to make connections with higher ranked nobles would be here. It was a good chance to get acquainted with other higher ranked nobles and make a name for themselves.

The chandeliers sparkled and the tables were overflowing with delicacies. The noble women were draped in fancy dresses and jewels, while men in sophisticated suits surrounded them. The music continued to softly play in the background, creating a pleasurable night experience.

She worried whether she would be able to find him among the huge crowd, but it wasn’t very difficult. She simply followed everyone’s gazes and footsteps, and naturally found herself in front of him.

‘Ah… It’s him…’

Hugo Taran.

Her heart started thumping loudly. He was more charming than when she saw him in her dream. Normally, people only heard of his renown name – the war’s black lion. However, ten cases out of ten, people would be shocked over his good looks. He didn’t appear rough and wild at all. He didn’t just look outstanding, his handsome appeal was unequaled.

Their gazes would lock onto his pitch-black hair and blood-like scarlet eyes, then they would appreciate his sculpted face. His sleek tall bridge nose beautifully balanced his deep eyes.

When he opened his thin lips, everyone would turn silent to listen to his words. His strong jawline and his neck revealed his masculinity.

Lucia had been appreciating his handsome looks with a gaping mouth, when she quickly snapped back to her senses in shock, while looking around to see if anyone had noticed her unlady-like behavior. Thankfully, nobody was interested in the pitiful, ugly young miss.

‘Contracted marriage…?’

Lucia swallowed hard.

‘Will… I be able to succeed…?’

The level was too high. He’s not a man you should dare look at, her mind sensibly whispered to her.

Kwiz, who was in high spirits, dragged Hugo all over the ballroom. He wanted to parade around as though he were wearing a priceless treasure. In Kwiz’ view, the Duke of Taran was considered a treasure. He was doing everything he could to win the Duke over to his side.

Neither of the two had explicitly stated whether they had decided to support each other. However, the fact that the two of them were walking side by side and talking made other people’s imagination run wild. Kwiz had used that to his advantage, while Hugo had overlooked his actions in silence.

Hugo was tired and simply wanted to go home. When Kwiz became the next Emperor, he would need to do these things to help him gain supporters, but that was something to think of in the future. He didn’t find it necessary to put so much effort for the sake of the Crown Prince just yet.

‘What can it be…?’

He had been feeling someone’s furtive stare for a while now. He had been a perceptive hunter all his life. He could easily sense when someone was targeting him. He didn’t feel any evil intent, but it made him feel outraged that he would be made into someone’s target. He feigned ignorance and looked around for the other party.

‘A woman…?’

It was unexpectedly a woman. She had brown hair and wore a blue dress dress; she seemed to be a young miss who had just stepped into adulthood. When Hugo looked toward the female, she avoided his gaze, but he had already found out the truth.

He was used to the yearning stares from other women. However, this brown haired female was not someone falling into that category. She looked like someone who had something to say; her eyes were filled with restlessness and sometimes very desperate.

‘If she has something to say, she will come eventually.’

He brushed her interest in him aside. However, her tenacious staring continued to bother his senses without rest. Now, he was glancing over at her from time to time to see what she was up to. She did not converse with anyone in the ball, nor did she dance; she simply kept staring at him. For a quick moment when he was alone, he saw her take a single step toward him.

But as soon as somebody approached him again, she would step back. He frowned unintentionally. Eventually, the party was coming to an end and she had not approached him.

‘It’s utterly impossible to approach him…’

It felt like he was today’s protagonist. People did not leave him alone at all. There wasn’t a single normal person within his circle of acquaintances. Most of all, Crown Prince Kwiz, Hesse the 9th, did not step away from the Duke’s surroundings.

‘The main instigator for my horrible marriage is right there,’ Lucia expressed toward her step brother. She didn’t particularly resent the Crown Prince. Although the two shared the same blood ties, he had no responsibility to take care of her like a real family. They were born from a different uterus, making them no different than strangers.

The party finally ended, and she could not relay a single word to him. Forget about talking, she couldn’t even get near him.

‘Hhhaa… what to do. Will he be attending tomorrow’s ball?’

She wasn’t sure whether he would be attending tomorrow’s ball and tonight would probably be the only chance she would get. Lucia decided she would attend the next day as well.

It had been five days. Today was the last day. Although the capital had been hosting the ball for five nights, nobody looked tired at all. Most likely, as soon as the party ended, most people would be tired and stay home for a while. It would be very quiet among the high society for some time.

However, compared to the first and second nights, quite a lot of people were not in attendance. Most of the ones attending tonight’s ball were party addicts. Otherwise, they would be hunting for a partner to spend some alone time in the dark corridors or the garden.

Not everyone was there to enjoy the party. There were those with huge appetites feasting on the delicacies; those who wished to make new connections; and others giving flirtatious glances, looking for a discreet fling. Contrary to everyone else, was the loner Lucia, who was out of everyone’s way against a wall, sipping on a glass of non-alcoholic champagne.

She had spent the last five days standing around all night while wearing heels, and it had given her an intense burning pain. Her corset wasn’t too binding, but it was constricting her chest considerably, making it hard to breathe. Although she was hungry, she could only taste a little bit at a time due to her corset.

Although the fragrance of the food was very alluring, she treated it like a background decoration. It was uncomfortable going to the bathroom, so she had made do with a single glass of champagne to wet her dry lips.

She felt how true it was that hunger intensified depression. Lucia was extremely depressed at the moment. She didn’t know whether it was because she was so hungry it felt like her stomach was stuck to her spine, or whether it was because she couldn’t approach the Duke these past five days. In any case, the two had equally caused much distress to Lucia.

She eyed the man in a black tailcoat in the distance. He looked superior compared to anyone else in this place, whether it be looks or status. He was tall with broad shoulders and a slim waist; his body had ideal proportions. Though one could not see his body underneath, anyone could tell he was well-toned.

There wasn’t much time left now. She would not be able to even greet him by the time the party ended. She wasn’t sure whether she would have a chance to meet him again afterward.

‘At least I was able to look at his face to the point of no regret.’

She had been stalking the man discreetly for the last five nights. She admitted she had become way too obsessed doing that. It wasn’t the least bit tiresome looking at him. He was a handsome man, who was pleasing to the eyes. It was fun observing the people around him as well. Especially when women would vulgarly press their breast against him…

He was a beautiful creation, but he didn’t try to gain favors with his looks. His expression was always cold, without any joy, anger, sorrow, or pleasure. He sometimes slightly furrowed or raised his eyebrows. When he laughed, only his lips would cynically smile. Nevertheless, people would try their best to observe his reactions with just those responses.

His presence alone gave people pause. He naturally exuded an imposing presence that suppressed others. It was a ruler’s dignity and the composure of the strong.

Those who looked at him from afar were surprised by the Duke of Taran’s handsome looks, but those who conversed with him could understand why this Duke’s was given the title The War’s Black Lion.

Dominant males, different from non dominant ones, always had women prowling around them, lining up with lust.

Lucia could understand the numerous females who kept trying to talk to the Duke. He held a high position and much wealth; he was handsome and young; he had everything one could ask for. He didn’t have a wife nor a companion. Even searching around the whole world, it would be hard to find someone comparable to him. He was the rarest of the rare. If she had a higher position in society, she would not have hesitated to join those women right now.

‘If I had bigger breasts at least.’


That sigh had many meanings held within it. It was not possible for her to shorten the distance between the Duke and herself.

There was another person equally fatigued as Lucia at the moment. His stress level had risen higher than hers. The useless dregs who stuck to him like glue were testing his patience as he wondered when they would shut up and get lost.

He sincerely missed the battlefield. He could shut people up as much as he liked at that place. His petty joy in life was to behead those who called him a devil. It was a good thing he currently didn’t have any weapons on him. He trusted in his own patience, but not 100 percent.

Hugo shifted his red eyes toward a corner. Nobody noticed he had been observing a particular person all this time.

‘Nothing has changed.’

The frail looking female with reddish brown hair had been standing in the same place, while holding onto the same glass all this time. For the past four days, she had not changed out of her pastel blue dress.

He did not regularly attend parties, but he was sensible enough to know that females did not wear the same dress the very next day. In a five day long ball like this one, they would own at least three dresses and rotate them. If they were so poor they couldn’t even afford three dresses, it would be better if they didn’t show up at all. She couldn’t even earn the belittlement of those around her. He didn’t see her trying to converse with anyone at all, not even once.

‘Is it money?’

If she was interested in his money, it would be better if she could tell him upfront. He was prepared to give her a sum of money with no questions asked. He admired her adamant spirit.

Originally, he planned to attend only the first day, but then decided to attend the next day as well. He was interested whether she would be there the next day. She had stuck to a corner in the same dress and had continued to stare at him. If she intended to catch his attention by wearing the same dress all the time, he wanted to relay the message that she had succeeded.

On the second day, she had not approached him. He could have gone up to her to start the conversation, but he had not. He had waited for her to approach him first. It felt like a game with victory on the line.

In the end, she had set a record by attending the party for five days straight. Kwiz was very happy, even though he hadn’t attended all these days in order to curry favor with him. In the end, the woman could not approach him, and had maintained the long distance between them.

‘It’s probably because of all these dregs.’

Everyone was assured that they had done their best making an impression with the Duke, but as soon as Hugo turned his back toward them, he planned to erase all those people from his mind.

‘It feels like she will approach me if I’m alone… Shall I try and find a place where people can’t find me?’

He’d been attending the parties for the last five days and much of his curiosity for the woman had died down. Kwiz, who had stuck to him like a piece of gum all along, had gone off somewhere.

“Excuse me for a moment.”

When Hugo requested their understanding, everyone expressed their reluctance and watched his back disappear. They assumed he would return after taking care of his business and waited for him while chattering happily among each other.


Lucia, who had been stalking him, was shocked by his unexpected behavior. He didn’t seem the type to wander around in parties. He would usually remain at the same place, and people would naturally surround him. It was the first time he was going off to some place alone. Lucia hesitated for a moment, then decided to follow after him. It could be her first and only chance.

Hugo walked leisurely. He sensed someone following behind him already.

‘What am I doing right now?’

He laughed to himself. He found it funny that he would go through so much trouble to hear what this female had to say. He wasn’t one to waste his time on useless things. It would have been over, had he simply ignored her.

He wasn’t interested in taking her to bed. To him, there were two types of women. The ones he wanted to take to bed and those he didn’t. It was the first time he was curious about a female of the latter type.

‘It has been quite bored these days.’

The high tension, the troops who were swept by madness, and the feeling of hot sticky blood. He was yearning for such things. He snapped out of his wandering thoughts about the war. In any case, he was very curious about this female’s goal.

He headed for the east garden. The moon shined the brightest there, but because of that, it wasn’t a good place for a secret love affair. It was probably the best place to be alone without having to hear some heavy moaning.

He got comfortable by a fountain that had yet to be filled with water. The place was out in the open to a certain degree. There were no people around, but it was not too desolate. He was satisfied with his choice of location. He turned his head at the crunching noise of dried leaves. When a woman appeared, the small amusement within his heart flew far away into the distance.


A well-endowed blond female sparkled like a jewel under the moonlight. His expression stiffened upon the appearance of the woman, who had an equally charming face.

“I’ve only allowed you to call me by name in the past, Lady Lawrence.”

The young miss fell into great shock as her eyes shook. He had drawn a line with his respectable cold words. He took away her privilege to call him by name and didn’t call her name like in the past. Sofia gazed at him with eyes glistening with tears as she bit her red lips.

“Please excuse my rudeness, Your Grace.”

“Did I disturb your walk?”

“No. I just noticed Your Grace walked my way and…”

“I’d be gratified if you could take your leave now.”

“Just for a moment… Just a moment is all I need. Your Grace, please…”

He sighed quietly.

“Are there any words left to say between us?”

“…You’re too heartless. Why do you cast me aside so coldly? I believed we shared our hearts at one time.”

He responded indifferently to the female, who was about to cry out a river.

“Lady Lawrence. I’ve never shared my heart with anyone. I only share my bed.”

Sofia couldn’t believe her ears as her eyes filled with tears. Her shoulders trembled as she wiped her tears away with her handkerchief.

Hugo didn’t bother comforting her and stood a distance away with his hands behind his back. He was beginning to grow irritated. That was precisely the reason he stopped playing with unmarried women. They always broke the rules.

It was frustrating to watch her, so he turned his back toward her.

“There’s nothing good about dragging this out with words.”

Sofia looked at the man who had put a wall between themselves with resentful eyes. She couldn’t believe his coldness. As she gazed toward his back, her resentful feelings slowly changed to something hot. Sofia ran and hugged his back.

She wrapped her arms around his firm chest and dug her face against his back. She was filled with emotion as his body heat permeated against her. She felt regret while thinking of their passionate night together. Her full breasts pressed against his back with hot passion, yet he closed his eyes and heartlessly tore her arms off him. Sofia’s body trembled seeing him turn around and step away in order to maintain some distance between them. He did not give her the slightest leeway.

“What did I do wrong? All I did was confess my love to my lover. Why would you send me roses of separation? You’re too much.”

“Lover you say?”

He clicked his tongue. How could this girl be so stupid?

“I’ve given you the truth since the beginning. I’ve told you to keep your heart to yourself. You promised me that you would do so. Are you feigning ignorance now?”

Sofia had not forgotten. She had not forgotten that she would be dumped as soon as she spoke of love to him. Sofia was well aware of that. All the women before her had experienced the same thing. But this cold man had called her name with such hot passion while holding her warmly that she forgot all about it.

—- I’m different. I’m not your lover. I’m unique.

(note: this is the title of a new segment of the chapter)

Sofia followed in the footsteps of all the other foolish women before her. She fell into the category called ‘the past women’.

“Can’t we…start over again? Your Grace, I will not show you my heart again. It’s okay if you embrace other girls. Please let me remain by your side.”

“You were a beautiful flower, Lady Lawrence. I broke off this flower and placed it in a vase. But the fate of these flowers is to wilt and nothing more.”

Sofia’s lips trembled imagining herself as a wilted flower. His every word mutilated her heart.

While she was his lover, it had felt like she had the world in her hands. He had been passionate and warm. He would not hesitate to spoil her with expensive gifts, either. When she said she had seen something pretty, he would gift it to her the very next day. She paraded all her gifted necklaces and earrings at all the parties she attended, and even when she hinted at their relationship, he hadn’t expressed any objections.

One day, a woman who had past relations with the Duke had warned Sofia.

“If you wish to remain by his side a day longer, don’t try to get closer. Enjoy your days until the day you receive those roses, Lady Lawrence.”

At the time, she had treated those words as nonsense. When she realized the truth, it had already been too late. Sofia had fallen too deep and he had already departed, leaving her with nothing but a bundle of yellow roses.

“Count Falcon’s wife had been picked by another, isn’t she nothing but a wilted flower?”

It had been a long time since they separated. But Sofia had approached him again after she had heard of the rumors flying around. Count Falcon’s wife was widely known for having three dead husbands. Sofia couldn’t handle the fact that she had been thrown away for such a woman.

As their meeting grew longer, Hugo gradually got more irritated. He quickly scanned the grassy forest up ahead. Somebody had been listening to the two of them all this time. Hugo was sure it would be that woman. His goal wasn’t to show off his past relationship to that girl. He had been curious what that hidden girl had to say to him, but now it had become too bothersome.

“You have no business deciding who I sleep with. Don’t think so highly of yourself.”

“She is a cursed woman, Your Grace. I’m simply worried harm would could to your esteemed self.”

He had spent a lot of effort to bed Sofia. She had not approach him first, but it had been him to ask her for a dance and seduce her to his bed. He had enjoyed a fling in a different style than his past women. She was more beautiful and materialistic. In the future, he planned to find a woman opposite of her.

“Lady Lawrence.”

His voice was incredibly cold and startled Sofia a great deal.

“I hate to be consumed in emotion. Thus, I don’t get mad. It is a waste and unpleasant to be filled with anger. If you continue to make me any more angry than I am now, you will need to pay for it. Up until now, all those who made me mad have paid for it with their lives.”

Sofia’s face drained of blood and paled as white as a sheet of paper.

“Don’t make me angry.”

Sofia’s lips trembled as she gazed at him with a pale face for a moment, then she turned and ran away with all her strength. He watched her disappearing figure with cold eyes, then fixed his attention to a certain spot.

“Come out. It’s time to stop eavesdropping like a thieving cat.”

– End of Chapter 2 –